National Geographic : 1937 May
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY W ITH profound sorrow and a keen sense of personal loss, the Board of Trustees of the National Geo graphic Society, on behalf of the members of The Society, records the passing of Dr. Frederick V. Coville, one of the most illus trious and valued members of the Board for more than forty years. Distinguished scientist and ardent sup porter of the ad vancement of geo graphic knowledge, Dr. Coville, from the early days of the National Geo graphic Society, as sisted notably in its growth and progress with expert advice and friendly counsel. As life trustee, and particularly as chairman of The Society's Research Committee since 1920, he guided wisely the choice of fields for explora tion and. supervised tirelessly the many expeditions of The Society that have been sent to all parts of the world. Ever modest but always greeting new tasks with enthusi asm, Dr. Coville FREDERICK V] spared time from a 186 crowded career for the service of the National Geographic Society. In his life work as botanist of the United States Department of Agri culture, he made contributions to the ad vancement of botanical knowledge that are unique and lasting in their usefulness. His brilliant work in developing the wild blueberry into a cultivated crop of impor tant commercial significance in the acid, sandy soils of our eastern coast was only one of the more outstanding achievements of a lifetime of scientific accomplishment.* It was his keen insight and careful experi * See "The Wild Blueberry Tamed: The New Industry of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey," by Frederick V. Coville, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, June, 1916. ER 7- mentation that led to recognition of the part played by acidity of soils in the develop ment of many plants and the importance of a period of chilling temperature for normal flowering and fruiting of plants of the Tem perate Zone. Wide interests and untiring energy led him into such broad fields as the listing of the plants of Arkansas, study of the botany of Death Valley and of Alaska, and research into the useful plants of the North American Indians. The establishment of the Desert Bo tanical Laboratory t of the Carnegie In stitution of Wash .f ington at Tucson, Arizona, was due largely to his efforts. In the Department of Agriculture he served continuously from 1888, rising to the position of prin cipal botanist in the Division of Plant Exploration and In troduction. He was acting director of the National Arboretum, was instrumental in the formation of the © Harris and Ewing Seed Laboratory of NON COVILLE the Department of 1937 Agriculture, and formulated the pol icy for the use of national forests as graz ing lands. He was also Curator of the U. S. Na tional Herbarium from 1893 and joint au thor of "Standardized Plant Names," and of many important scientific papers. Dr. Coville's stalwart character and physique were noted no less than his men tal endowments. He was a keen follower of the arts and active in civic affairs. Dr. Coville's colleagues recognized his achievements repeatedly by electing him to high office in scientific societies. In 1931, for his work with blueberries, he re ceived the George Robert White Medal of Honor from the Massachusetts Horticul tural Society.